A guide to the Tour de France
A guide to Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2017, which is a 13km time trial, in the city of Duesseldorf, on the river Rhein, in Nord Rhein-Westphalia, north western Germany. Read about Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2017 here.
1st July 2017
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) was the surprise winner of the Stage 1 time trial, at the Grand Départ of the 2017 Tour de France in Duesseldorf. His time of 16 minutes 04 was enough to beat Stefan Kung (BMC), who was second, and Vasil Kiryienka (Sky), third. Pre-race favourite, German Tony Martin (Katusha) was fourth. Chris Froome was the best of the GC favourites in sixth, 12s behind Thomas.
Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2017 starts at Messe Duesseldorf. The route is shown on the Google map above - the first half (outbound) in yellow, the second half (back towards the start/finish point) in red.
|Stage classification||Time trial|
The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 1:
Profile of Stage 1, Tour de France 2017, © ASO/Tour de France
Saturday 1st July 2017. The publicity caravan sets off from the start at Stockumer Kirchstrasse at 13h45; the first rider at 15h15; and the last rider arrives at the finish at Rotterdammer Strasse at 18h48.
The stage starts on Stockumer Kirchstrasse, by the Nordpark, at Messe Duesseldorf (the city's conference and exhibition centre, in the Stockum district, near Duesseldorf International Airport).
The riders head south along the river Rhein, past the Theodor Heuss Brücke, as far as the Oberkasseler Brücke. Here, they head up the ramp, onto the bridge, and across the river.
On the other side of the Rhein, on the edge of the Oberkassel district, the race continues on Kaiser Wilhelm Ring, next to the Rheinwiesen (grassland by the river). The route then crosses back over the river on the Rheinkniebrücke. (Rheinkniebrücke translates as 'the Rhein knee bridge', and I guess it refers to the two bends in the river just here, which make the shape of a knee).
At the far end of the Rheinkniebrücke is the Landtag Nord Rhein-Westphalia (the State Parliament), and the Rheinturm, a 240.5m concrete telecommunications tower, which stands at the entrance to Duesseldorf's harbour. The Rheinturm has an observation deck which is open the public, a revolving restaurant, and a light display called Lichtzeitpegel, which works as the world's largest digital clock.
Königsallee & Stadtgraben, Duesseldorf
After the bridge, the riders turn right on Kavalleriestrasse, which leads on to Haroldstrasse, and takes them past a lake called the Schwanenspiegel and to Graf Adolf Platz. Here, they turn left onto Königsallee, known as the Kö - a shopping street and area for going out in the evening. The Kö runs either side of a stretch of water called the Stadtgraben.
A left-right dogleg then takes the race onto Heinrich Heine Allee. Now, the Altstadt (old town) is directly to the left; to the right, the route passes a shopping centre (Galeria Kaufhof), the Post Office, and the Opera House (Deutsche Oper am Rhein).
The route goes past the Nördliche Düssel (a tributary of the Rhein, from which Düsseldorf gets its name), and the Hofgarten (a park), then takes Fritz Roeber Strasse down to the bank of the Rhein.
Now, the riders go back the way they started out, along the Rhein to Messe Duesseldorf, and the finish line on Rotterdammer Strasse.
Stage 1 is a chance for the time trial specialists to take the first yellow jersey of the 2017 Tour.
Tony Martin, now riding for Katusha-Alpecin, is targeting Stage 1. He will be motivated because the time trial takes place in his home country. At 32, he may be past his very best, but he has the experience to cope with the intense scrutiny that the Tour de France brings. Martin is the 2017 German national time trial champion.
Some of the other time trial specialists are absent, with Tom Dumoulin skipping the Tour after his Giro d'Italia win. Rohan Dennis, who won the opening time trial in Utrecht in 2015, is not in the BMC line-up, but his Swiss colleague Stefan Kung will be striving to place first.
Similarly, Primoz Roglic of LottoNL-Jumbo will want to seize this opportunity, as will his teammate Jos van Emden (winner of the Stage 21 time trial on the Giro d'Italia 2017). NOS says that Roglic and van Emden are two of the possible winners of Stage 1. It notes that the Slovenian Roglic was second in the Giro prologue last year, and the winner of the second time trial in the 2016 Italian Tour. Roglic says, 'Anything is possible.'
With some of the top specialists absent, there's an opportunity for the non-specialists to finish high up. Richie Porte (BMC) has been in superb form this season; Christopher Froome may want to prove that he is still a contender for the yellow jersey after his insipid performances in 2017; and Geraint Thomas managed a second place in the first Giro time trial, and could look for a top 15 placing in Stage 1 of the Tour.
Stage 2 of the Tour de France 2017 is from Duesseldorf to Liège, in Belgium.
Read about Stage 2 of the 2017 Tour de France.
Duesseldorf is the capital of the Nord Rhein-Westphalia state, and the seventh biggest city in Germany (population 593,000). It is sometimes known as 'little Paris'. It is the venue of the Grand Départ 2017.
It gets its name from the river Duessel, which flows into the Rhein here.
It is a business and financial centre, with telecommunications one of the important industries (D2Vodafone and E-Plus are based here). Messe Duesseldorf holds a lot of trade fairs. Mercedes Benz Sprinter vans are built here.
The band Kraftwerk come from Duesseldorf, as did metal merchants Warlock. There's a significant Japanese community.
There were farming and fishing villages here in the C7th and C8th, but Duesseldorf is first mentioned in 1135. It came under the rule of the Counts of Berg, and was granted priviledges by Count Adolf VIII in 1288. It was part of the territory conquered by Napoleon, then belonged to the Kingdom of Prussia from 1815.
Duesseldorf was bombed during World War II, particularly by the RAF in 1943. It was captured by the US Army on 18th April 1945, and became the capital of Nord Rhein-Westphalia in 1946.
Altbier is the speciality beer in the bars of Duesseldorf. It's a little like a pale ale.
The city's symbol is the Radschläger, which is a boy doing a cartwheel. It may originate from the 1288 battle, won by the Counts of Berg. Legend has it that children did cartwheels in the street to celebrate this victory.
Duesseldorf is twinned with Reading (UK), Toulouse (France),
and Lillehammer (Norway).
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